Archive for September, 2010

Still feasting


It feels like a non-stop buffet, these Hari Raya open house invitations. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one to complain. I love to eat but I hear Mum and Dad exclaiming how they have put on more weight these last two weeks than any lost (if any) during a whole month of fasting. Mum says I’m lucky that I can stay slim when I have such a big appetite


"Frogs have it easy. They can eat what bugs them."

Frankly, I would take 3 helpings of Mum’s pasta if I was allowed to. She limits it to 2 maximum because she says anything more is simply greed. Thank God Mum makes an exception during festivities. During this time we eat till we’re stuffed. Since I relate well to animals, Mum <—- showed me this photo and said this is what we look like when we overeat.

The Open House invitations still keeps coming. There’s two tomorrow. I guess that’s to be expected coming from a large family on both sides of parents. I have 3 sets of cousins though whose fathers are non-Malays. They would often say how lucky we are to get duit Raya (money given as gifts given during the festival) from all our older cousins, uncles, aunties and granduncles on Dad’s side. Comes Christmas and we 3 siblings go green with envy looking at the gifts our cousins get from their uncles and aunties on their father’s side. But that’s what makes our Family so interesting and different from others. We present a diversity of nationalities, languages and skin colors! At first my 3 uncles could not understand how we Malays could eat non-stop throughout the day during the festivals. It took them a few years before they themselves got into the swing of things and can now keep up with us. My uncles said understanding our complex extended family tree was much harder to do. LOL.

Iwan, Johann, Andreas & Kak Lin...and there's alot more

Here’s a photo of some of my cousins doing their favorite thing… EATING

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are  doing and devote our attention to eating.  ~Luciano Pavarotti


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Wish I was in Singapore with sis


My younger sister went to Singapore for a school trip. I went to many school trips before but never as far as Singapore. I asked Mum if I could follow. She said “You wouldn’t want to be with a busload of giggly girls”. Most times I don’t know what I want so I take the cue from Mum. That’s the way I learn. But this time I don’t get it. What’s wrong about being on the bus with a bunch of girls? They are heading for Singapore right? That’s where you find the Zoo, Night Safari and Universal Studios. That’s all I care about.

Sis (leftmost) at the Merlion with friends

Sis said they were not going to those places. Instead they were going to places like Arab Street, Clarke’s Quay, Little India etc . .  and the National Library. Huh? The library? Why would anyone want to visit the library instead of a theme park? Mum reminds me that it’s a school trip not a holiday tour so the girls will visit 2 local schools to reciprocate the visits these schools made to sister’s school. The girls are even performing a local dance, the zapin, in conjunction with the trip. OK so now I don’t feel so bad about being left behind. Still, it would be nice to go. I haven’t been there since I was 10 years old. Mum doesn’t have good memories of that trip. She said I behaved badly. I got into tantrums each time we got ready to leave any of the attractions especially the Zoo. Sigh… Mum sure has a long memory. I said to her “Sorry”. Is 13 years too late to apologize?

Anyway, sister’s back later today. Can’t wait to see what souvenir she’ll bring back for me.

P.S She’s back. Sis got me a FINE tee-shirt. Fine for littering, fine for spitting, fine for chewing gum!. Get it?. I like it. I wore it immediately.


My FINE tee-shirt souvenir

Of festivals and feasting


SELAMAT HARI RAYA to all Malaysians and a Happy Eid Mubarak for the rest of the world. Another year of completion of the month of fasting.

I'm on the right in my usual stiff pose. Behind us is Granduncle's kampung (village) house.

Last week we went back to Linggi, our kampung (village, hometown) to celebrate Hari Raya with our huge extended family. How huge? Picture a football-sized field (almost) with dozens of parked cars and a sizeable canopy enough to shield close to a  hundred people from the sun while they enjoyed a hearty feast. I do not know half of the family and I don’t remember the names of the half that I do know. Festivals like these are more often for me just blurred memories filled with laughter (of other people), lots of food and relatives dressed in their best. The part I like best about going back to the kampung is the chance to pet and feed the baby goats that belong to grand-uncle.

It used to be a terrible, tormented time for me because I would keep my hands pressed on my ears to keep out the painful noise and when it got too much I would just sit and cry for hours. Mum refused to stay away or keep me secluded in a quiet room. She kept whispering “it’s alright, we will overcome” as she rocked me back and forth. And I did overcome. By the time I was 5 years old  I was able to join in the festivities without freaking out. The next thing I had to learn was to fight the temptation of  the sweet stuff. It was everywhere I looked, unlike at home where there wasn’t a trace of sugar due to my strict no-sugar diet. You can’t imagine what it’s like to see the spread of mouth-watering desserts and not being allowed to eat it. Of course, the ugly tantrums made its appearance. Relatives told Mum to relax, let the poor kid have some…after all it’s Hari Raya. Mum did not budge. The only exception she made was to allow me the colorful non-aerated drinks…….diluted so much that it tasted like plain water but I was none the wiser.

Road sign named after my great-grandfather

This road is named after my great-grandfather, Dato' Hj Mohd Yusof. A school behind me is also named after him.

On the way home, Dad stopped by a road sign and told me that the school and road was named after my great-grandfather, Haji Mohd Yusof. Wow, I think its cool to have a school AND road named after you don’t you think? Never mind if it’s just a small road in the village. It means my great-grandfather must have played an important role in the community and this is the way he is honored and remembered by the said community. He was known to be a serious, highly respected man whose occupation was then known as  ‘visiting school inspector’. Mum said I may never have a road named after me but hey, I have a blog in my name. That’s pretty cool too.

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” –

Calvin Coolidge, American 30th President of the U.S.A

“You never monkey with the truth” – Ben Bradlee


Shodo Shima, Japan - Huddled for warmth, macaques press their bodies into a vast ball of fur. The monkeys' relaxed social hierarchy allows high- and low-ranking individuals to share the same tight space. (Yushiro Fukuda)

These macaques keep warm by pressing their bodies into a big ball of fur.

I like this photo lots. I have never seen anything like it. I’ve seen plenty of monkeys (these are macaques actually) but not with funny red faces. What I don’t understand is how they can all press closely together like a big ball of fur. They actually seem to enjoy it!. Mum explains that macaques do that to keep warm because the climate there in Shodo Shima, Japan is very, very cold. I’m glad I’m not a macaque because I would not be able to handle that much of body contact. I guess some of you may know that autistic people  have different levels of tolerance to touch. I enjoy a hug or two even though myposture is a bit stiff. I had to get used to it cos Dad always kids around with me, giving me claps on the back and big bear hugs.

But till today, in about a minute I’m squirming to get away. However, on the morning of Hari Raya (Eid, celebration of completion of the fasting month) I accept the hugs willingly. It feels right. I don’t winch.

A bear hug from Dad

Why?. Maybe it’ s because of the joy in the air and some part of my brain tells me its okay, relax….. today is after all, a special day.

You would think that a guy who doesn’t do hugs all that well would clearly understand the concept of “personal space”. Well it doesn’t work that way. For a very long time Mum had to train me not to stand too close to another person (especially female). It makes that person very uncomfortable or even angry she says. Something about it ‘not being right’. Duh, SOMEBODY TELL THAT TO THESE MONKEYS!!

* Haziq’s Mum here. I try to end each post with a meaningful or humorous quote. Surprisingly I could find only 2 quotes on the subject of personal space. One was more like a cheesy pick-up line than a quote and the other?? Are you ready?  Utinam barbari spatium proprium tuum invadant! – May barbarians invade your personal space! ….. Now if that’s not a bone-chilling Latin curse; I don’t know what is.

Footnote: For the rest of us, evolution seems to have programmed this discomfort via a brain structure called the amygdalae, a pair of almond-shaped brain regions deep within each temporal lobe that control fear and the processing of emotion. It’s your amygdalae that keep you from getting so close to another person that he could easily reach out, gouge an eye, and then drag you off by your hair. Be convinced at http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1919910,00.html